Don't look now, but many on Obama's economic team is abandoning ship and heading for the exits. Austan Goolsbee's, who recently resigned from his post as the White House economic advisor after less than a year, is just the most visible defection. Obama's economic team is headed for the doors and following the lead of the more senior economic advisors. Christine Roemer, Larry Summers and Peter Orszag were the first to abandon Obama's economic team as it became painfully obvious that their policies on job creation had failed. These are the same advisors that assured Americans that a huge expansion of entitlements, an historic increase in the size of government, almost doubling of the national debt by $5 trillion, while hobbling small businesses with a new thicket of regulations, would actually result in economic expansion and job growth across the nation.
Not only were these presidential advisors wrong, but disastrously so. Rarely has a group failed so spectacularly. Thus, Americans should not be surprised that many of the lower levels of Obama's National Economic Council team (Sarah Cannon, Eric Lesser, Bryan Jung, Kyle Watkins, Pascal Noel) are also abandoning the sinking Obama ship. This mass exodus of Team Obama's economic advisors is a stunning vote of no confidence in the President's economic policies. Obama needs to consider this: When all of your staff give up, they are telling you that there is something flawed in the current approach that doesn't work. Personnel is policy.
Mr. Obama's supporters certainly understand that when key staffers depart en masse, they are essentially fleeing a losing endeavor and are hoping to get out before recriminations for failure have a chance to permanently tarnish personal reputations. No one wants to be part of a losing team, and, before the stench of defeat has a chance to permanently cling, they leave.
Curiously, this is the same argument that Obama's supporters are using to characterize the recent defections from Newt Gingrich. Yet, when it comes to finding a rationale for why the entire Obama economic team has bolted for the doors, the Administration is essentially telling us that "there is nothing to see here…just move along".
But moving along is not so easy. The Obama Administration's job-creation strategies has resulted in a jump in unemployment to 9.1%, despite an imaginative and destructive amount of new government spending of nearly $5 trillion masquerading as economic stimulus. Say what you will, but at least Gingrich's implosion only directly impacted his personal ambitions to seek higher office. The mass defection of Obama's entire economic team by contrast, has directly and severely eroded the economic well being of every single American.
One of Obama's favorite adjectives seems to be "unprecedented". What's unprecedented is the little-reported, massive, wholesale departure of a team of economic advisors. While the exodus of Newt Gingrich's staff is gaining all of the media attention, the far more concerning departures of the President's economic team has had little media coverage. With their departure, the President is now isolated and alone with his failures.
I wonder: were any Obama's departing economic advisors honest enough to recognize and admit that their advice was flawed? Did any have the courage to go to the President and admit they were wrong? We can only hope they did—even as we bemoan the spectacle of a ruined economic policy and the sad specter of Obama holding the empty bag.
Another troubling fact to consider is that many of Obama's economic team are leaving to join academia. Surely, if these folks believed in the Obama rhetoric, wouldn't at least one of them go into the private sector? Since these are the folks that worked overtime to convince Americans that their economic policies would help job growth and promote small business development, why isn't even one of Obama's departing staff moving out to start up a small business and effectively demonstrate conviction in their ideas with actual deeds?
On the other hand, had Obama fired his economic team—that would have been a good thing. Firings would have shown that Obama realized that their advice had been flawed, that Obama recognized that the country was worse off than when he took office, and that he was trying to do something about it. For example, in 1985, David Stockman didn't think that cutting taxes would grow the economy. Reagan did, so he fired Stockman, and it turns out Reagan was right. The economy under President Reagan boomed.
But make no mistake, the Obama's Economic Policy is a shambles and the mass defection of all of his economic policy advisors is sending Americans a clear message of the chaos within the White House. Obama has churned through three different economic advisors in a short period of time and likely will burn through a few more. (During Reagan's 8 years in office, he had a total of three.)
Wake up and smell the coffee, Mr. President. Obama's people have abandoned his economic policy. Maybe it's time for Obama to abandon it too.